Temporal changes in the abundance Culex restuans and Culex pipiens were monitored in east-central Illinois for over a decade using infusion-baited oviposition traps. The 2 species typically exhibited a seasonal shift in relative abundance with a mean crossover date (when the proportion of egg rafts from both species is equal) of August 10 or 11, depending on leap year, with a 95% confidence interval of ±10.7 days. The date of crossover was linearly related to the date of last spring frost and occurred on average about 123 days after the last spring frost. Despite the predictability of crossover, the weekly pattern in the proportion of Cx. pipiens before and after crossover varied considerably, even between years with similar crossover dates. After West Nile virus became established in our area, we found that transmission based on Culex from gravid traps did not increase until Cx. pipiens abundance increased in oviposition traps. Infection rates peaked within the half-month period after crossover. The peak in Cx. pipiens abundance in oviposition traps during this 3-year period was between the 2nd half of August and the end of September. A higher magnitude of transmission in 2002 coincided with warmer temperatures during July and August and an extended period in which the 2 Culex species were in relatively equal abundance.
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Vol. 22 • No. 3